In early April 2021, defendants Vishwanath, Rajagopal, Ahmed, and Prabhudoss were all quoted in two Al Jazeera articles presenting patently false claims that HAF misappropriated COVID-19 related Paycheck Protection Program relief funds to support violence and “slow genocide” against Christians and Muslims in India.
HAF’s complaint also outlines how the defendants used the US-based Coalition to Stop Genocide in India to provide cover to make further defamatory statements against HAF and demand the US government start an investigation into HAF and other Hindu organizations for allegedly using Federal funds to “sponsor hate” in India.
Professor Truschke, who has worked closely on a number of occasions with IAMC, HfHR, and Sadhana — all organizations controlled or operated by the other defendants — went on the republish and amplify the defamatory statements, while falsely accusing HAF of organizing violent threats against her.
Truschke and IAMC’s advocacy director are both listed as board members of another Coalition to Stop Genocide in India member organization.
Listed as a non-party to the lawsuit but as a co-conspirator to defame HAF is the author of one of the Al Jazeera articles, Raqib Hameed Naik.
HAF’s complaint shows that Naik, rather than simply being an independent journalist, as presented by Al Jazeera, has deep and ongoing connections with both IAMC and HfHR, speaking at events jointly organized by both organizations and serving on IAMC’s executive team.
Following publication of both defamatory articles Naik was listed as a speaker for “News and Media Outreach” at an IAMC quarterly planning meeting discussing advocacy and media strategy.
HAF is seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the named parties; a permanent injunction against further dissemination of the defamatory statements; a public retraction of the Al Jazeera articles; and, payment of HAF’s legal fees.
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